Arguably the most famous controversy of Hollywood’s Golden Age is who deserves the credit for the Oscar-winning screenplay for “Citizen Kane”: was it director and star Orson Welles, or his satirist writing partner, Herman J. Mankiewicz? David Fincher will explore that debate — and the dark side of 1930’s Hollywood — in “Mank,” a new biopic coming to Netflix in December and which just got its first trailer.
In the trailer, which you can see above, “Mank” casts Hollywood in the same black-and-white as “Citizen Kane,” with Gary Oldman playing Mankiewicz as he races to complete the first draft of the “Kane” script. Along the way, Mankiewicz, known throughout Hollywood as a charming but deeply cynical alcoholic, locks horns with Welles over nearly every element of the film’s story. That feud that would continue beyond the film’s release as Mankiewicz believed Welles was trying to take credit for his work and spent the rest of his life resenting him for it.
“Mank” also follows the writer’s interaction with other key figures in “Kane” history, including the primary inspiration behind the film’s main character, William Randolph Hearst, played by “Game of Thrones” alum Charles Dance. Other cast members include Arliss Howard as studio head Louis B. Mayer, Amanda Seyfried as Hearst’s mistress Marion Davies, and Lily Collins as Mankiewicz’s secretary, Rita Alexander.
“Mank” is more than 20 years in the making, as David Fincher’s father, Howard “Jack” Fincher, wrote the screenplay back in the late 1990s. He passed away in 2003. The film marks Fincher’s return to feature filmmaking for the first time since his 2014 Oscar-nominated film “Gone Girl,” having spent the last six years working on Netflix series like “House of Cards” and “Mindhunter.”
“Mank” arrives on Netflix on December 4. Watch the trailer above.